Because my "stroke" was so small, my neurologist did not think it could have come from my heart operation, so she ordered ultrasound studies of the arteries of neck. I was told that my circulation looks perfect, no evidence that a stroke is likely to develop from there.
Today I took a "stress test". I should hear about beginning cardio-rehab in a couple of weeks. I've been having few dizzy spells and such, so I should be able to begin driving, I hope, by the time I begin rehab. My primary medicine is my food, at this point.
Impatience is the constant lesson. I want to get better and do more and take fewer meds as quickly as possible. It is not so difficult to pay attention to what is going on, just hard to accept sometimes. All in all today has gone well. My mind seems clearer more of the time. I never was great at pacing myself when I was younger, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now. Will see my cardiologist for his first post-surgery check on Wednesday. Then I'm hoping to celebrate with a trip to the movies.
I took a flight of stairs up to my doctor today. Whoo-ee ... I'm not quite ready for that. I was seriously winded by the end. It's one thing to "understand" that it takes a lot of time and patience to get into shape, but quit another to really "know" that. One of the problems that people often grapple with is trying to take on too much, too soon. I'm clearly as susceptible to that as anyone. I recovered within a few minutes and am doing just fine. Just a little "wake-up call" to take it easy.
I was being prepared for surgery 7 days ago, to the hour. The challenges were greater than I expected, but I did very well from the point of view of my surgical team.
After being home for just over 1 full day, I finally started to feel pretty good. Then I went to sleep. I got up at 6 took my morning walk (15 min. today) and meds and breakfast. Now I'm resting, wondering what today may bring.
I joined a couple of ongoing online spiritual courses and one on music practice. I have at least 1 dozen books ready to be read and my new mini-bass to play. My buddy, TJ, is expected to visit today. I don't know that we will jam today, but I'm looking forward to doing so soon.
I think the emotional roller-coaster is at least as great as the physical one. I'm very optimistic right now, but that could be subject to change several times during the day
Very greatful for all the support from friends, family, health-providers and friends of friends & family. Thank you all.
The process of recovery can be a long and daunting one. I intend to continue sharing some of my experiences each week. The surgery itself took only 1-1/2 hours according to my surgeon. Everything else was preparations and necessary support for my recovery. Kinda interesting how something so major is really the combination of many factors that affect the real healing. Clearly having a skillful and caring surgical team is hugely important, but so is everything else.
This is Mary, Rick's partner.
We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 a.m. for an 8:30 surgery. I took the day off work so I could be with him during the waiting period. He's in good spirits, trusting the Divine, the hospital staff, as well as love and support from all our family an friends. Thanks for your support We'll keep you posted.
I'm just about to head to the hospital. I should be all prepped and ready for surgery by 6 a.m. Don't know when it will actually be. Surgery will probably take most or all of the morning hours. I'm ready and confident that I have a great team of people to get me through this
Today I really got into creating the space I intend to live in for several weeks. Felt great to have the creative juices flowing. I even started studying music for the first time in a long while. I'm looking forward to working more on that neglected part of me as soon as I get back home. I feel kinda like a nesting expectant parent, except that I'm the arrival too.
New lease on life accepted: Joining Zipper Club on Dec 12
Journal posted on December 2, 2014
I finally met with my surgeon today. The date is set for 2 weeks from now. There will be an aortic valve replacement and a bypass to one of my coronary arteries. Hopefully that is all. Meantime I've got a bunch of other things to do to prepare + having a colonoscopy later this week. I feel very optimistic that I will be doing much better in 2015 than have been in 2014 -- no that this has been a bad year. I just have been so tired and short of breath.
This process is rather humbling. Keep feeling like a wuss.
I started having increased pain, instead of decreased, as the days progressed. I spoke to the cardiologist who performed the angiogram and he recommended I go to the E.R. & have an ultrasound done to be certain that about my condition. I put it off a bit, but awoke at 2 a.m. With constant discomfort and couldn't seem to settle down, so headed off the the E.R. I finally got home after 9. Seems that they have no techs on duty to perform that before 6 a.m. I got a clear bill of health and they recommended that I ice the wound, as needed.
It seems like every procedure I go through is a rehearsal for what's to come.
So this was not so bad, though it turns out that you can't do much of anything for a couple of days, to be safe. I also learned that I will also need a bypass when they open me up. Today I learned that the aortic root will also be replaced (not surprised).
Apparently the CT scan did not reveal any complications. Monday I go in to have an angiogram of my coronary arteries. I'll be in the hospital all morning. I expect that we will be ready for a surgical consultation soon.
A few things I've noticed since this all began: I had been drinking much more coffee than I used to, presumably because of the fatigue associated with an inefficient heart. I'm a little more reluctant to go bike riding and such, because my endurance has waned over time. My priorities have changed considerably. I've spent a fair amount of time preparing myself so that my recovery will be optimal. That has meant that I haven't been inclined to practice my basses much, though I do get out and jam occasionally.
I'll have more to say when I see a surgeon -- hopefully, fairly soon
This past couple of weeks has been interesting for me. Last weekend I had an opportunity to get out in the public and play music a couple of times. Although there have been a lot of challenges regarding my energy level and my ability to focus, the effects of being a bit stressed out by all of it. I have attended to a bunch of things to help prepare for the upcoming procedure:
I located a motorized easy chair so that I can get up and down with minimal chest pain during those first few weeks. Afterwards my mom will be able to use it. She really needs that sort of thing, because it takes great effort for her to get up and down safely and comfortably.
Lifting any of my basses will probably be too much for quite awhile, so I've been researching into super light weight basses.
Since I want to keep my family and friends in the loop, I contacted most of them about this blog space. I Probably won't have a great deal to say for a couple of months.
I have spent a lot of time reading and listening to information about what to expect.
I had decided to begin to teach a bit of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), but that may be delayed again. Perhaps I'll offer it to my fellow cardiac rehabilitation patients, when I get to that point.
Today I had a CT scan so that we will soon have a fair idea how my aorta is doing.
I've decided to try to get the surgery in mid-December, so the next order of business is to get an angiogram of my heart's blood vessels.
About a month before I learned about needing surgery, we were traveling in Oregon
The Adventure Begins
Journal posted on September 10, 2014
One week ago today -- September 3, 2014 -- I went in for a "routine" echocardiogram. I had one years ago, while living in Canada, but it was not followed up on until now. I was shocked to learn that I need to schedule an Aortic Valve Replacement. As the dust settles and I've found the ability to share this with those closest to me, I've begun to educate myself and move on to the next step -- a CT scan to determine whether aortic surgery might be necessary as well.